1Oldest Marijuana Stash (2,700 years old)
They're totally busted! In 2008, nearly two pounds of still-green plant material were found in a 2,700-year-old grave in Mongolia's Gobi Desert. It was identified as the world's oldest marijuana stash.
A barrage of tests proves that the marijuana possessed potent psychoactive properties and casts doubt on the theory that the ancients only grew the plant for hemp in order to make clothing, rope, and other objects. They apparently were getting high, too. Lead author Ethan Russo told Discovery News that the marijuana "is quite similar" to what's grown today.
2Oldest Chewing Gum (5,000 years old)
In 2007, a 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum, the oldest ever discovered, was found by a British archaeology student in Finland. The Neolithic gum, made from birch bark tar, had tooth prints in it.
"Birch bark tar contains phenols, which are antiseptic compounds. It is generally believed that Neolithic people found that by chewing this stuff if they had gum infections it helped to treat the condition," said Trevor Brown from the University of Derby.
3Oldest Leather Shoe (5,500 years old)
"It is astonishing how much this shoe resembles a modern shoe!" said a famous designer. Stuffed with grass, perhaps as an insulator or an early shoe tree, the 5,500-year-old moccasin-like shoe was found exceptionally well preserved—thanks to a surfeit of sheep dung—during a 2010 dig in an Armenian cave.
About as big as a current women's size seven (U.S.), the shoe was likely tailor-made for the right foot of its owner. Radiocarbon dated to about 3500 B.C., during Armenia's Copper Age, the prehistoric shoe is compressed in the heel and toe area, likely due to miles upon miles of walking. However, the shoe is by no means worn out.
4Oldest Musical Instrument (42,000 years old)
In 2012, researchers identified what they say are the oldest-known musical instruments in the world. A couple of flutes made from bird bone and mammoth ivory came from Hohle Fels Cave in Germany, which contains early evidence of the occupation of Europe by modern humans, or Homo sapiens. Scientists used carbon dating to show that the flutes were between 42,000 and 43,000 years old.
5Oldest Artificial Eye (4,800 years old)
According to a 2006 report, Iranian archaeologists in "Burnt City" announced the unprecedented discovery of an artificial eyeball, dated to 4,800 years ago, in this historic site. The eyeball belonged to a sturdy woman who was between 25 to 30 years of age at the time of death, and its material consisted of natural tar mixed with animal fat. Studies on the eyeball also suggest the formation of an abscess in the eyelid due to long-term contact with the eyeball. Moreover, remaining eyelid tissues are still evident on this artificial eyeball.
6Oldest Skirt (5,900 years old)
In Armenia's Areni-1 cave, the same place where the world's oldest leather shoes were found, a skirt made of reeds that has been dated at 5,900 years old was also found. It is now thought to be the oldest piece of reed clothing discovered to date.
The cave has been under investigation by a team of Irish, American, and Armenian researchers since 2007. It has yielded numerous fascinating discoveries over the years, including the mummified remains of a goat that may be 5,900 years old, more than 1,000 years older than many of the famous mummified animals found in Egypt.
7Oldest Popcorn (6,700 years old)
In 2012, researchers have found evidence that societies living along the coast of Peru were eating the air-filled snack about 1,000 years earlier than previously estimated — even predating the use of ceramic pottery.
Corn husks, stalks, cobs, and tassels (pollen-producing flowers on corn) dating from 6,700 to 3,000 years ago were unearthed at Paredones and Huaca Prieta, two sites on Peru's northern coast, by American and Peruvian researchers. The characteristics of the corncobs suggest that the sites' ancient inhabitants prepared and ate corn in several ways, including corn flour and popcorn.
8Oldest Purse (4,500 years old)
"It seems to have been very fashionable at the time," said the archaeologist who uncovered more than a hundred dog teeth arranged close together in a grave in Germany dated to between 2,500 and 2,200 B.C. According to archaeologists, the teeth were likely decorations for the outer flap of a handbag, the oldest ever found. "Over the years the leather or fabric disappeared, and all that's left is the teeth. They're all pointing in the same direction, so it looks a lot like a modern handbag flap," they said.
9Oldest Mattress (77,000 years old)
In 2011, archaeologists found what they believe is the world's oldest mattress in a cave in South Africa. The mattress, which consists of layers of reeds and rushes, was discovered at the bottom of a pile of bedding made from compacted grasses and leafy plants. The bedding had accumulated at the Sibudu Cave site in KwaZulu-Natal (map) over a period of 39,000 years, with the oldest mats dating to 77,000 years ago.
10Oldest Mask (9,000 years old)
This stone mask from the pre-ceramic neolithic period dates to 7,000 BC and is probably the oldest mask in the world. It can be seen at the Musée Bible et Terre Sainte in Paris.